When coming to the U.S. as an au pair, do you pay for your own flight?
If you’re considering becoming an au pair or hosting one, this is a top question.
And you’re not alone.
It’s not intuitive who pays for what for the au pair, but it’s important to know!
In this post, we answer the question.
And we’ll talk about the basics of the program, plus some tips for preparing for an au pair.
If you’re wondering about other possible expenses, check out our post on hidden au pair costs.
Let’s get started!
What Is An Au Pair?
First, an au pair travels to another country, lives with a host family, furthers their education, and provides childcare.
We cover this more in our post What Is An Au Pair?
In the United States, the program is overseen by the U.S. Department of State.
There’s a lot of expenses with an au pair, and it’s important to know who pays for them.
By thinking ahead, you can avoid some of the hidden costs of an au pair.
Informing yourself beforehand about the costs that are involved will help you and your au pair have a positive experience from day one.
Who Pays For The Au Pair’s Flight?
Au Pairs pay for their own flight to their host country.
With that said, there are some situations where a host family may decide to make a contribution.
If you are feeling particularly generous, or simply want to start things off really great, or say if you had a difficult time finding an au pair to match with, you may want to go above and beyond to pay for the au pair’s flight.
But doing so before they have arrived can be risky…
You don’t want to get scammed or have the au pair change his or her mind and be out of the money.
And remember, until your au pair finally arrives, there are many things that can result in a change of plans.
They might have a life circumstance that comes up such that they can’t be an au pair anymore, for example.
As an alternate idea, if you are planning on hosting an au pair you could plan to make a contribution to their flight costs after they’ve arrived and settled in.
Offering to do that shows that you are still invested in your au pair while protecting your financial security!
First Steps To Finding A Flight To The U.S.
Navigating the logistics of international travel is a big difference between an au pair vs. a nanny.
With a nanny, a host family can hire them locally. But an au pair has to get to the country where they will work!
The first step is to figure out which are the best travel sites to use.
There are so many it can be hard to decide, but here are a few to help you get started:
|Expedia||Expedia is a popular online travel booking website that provides a wide range of flights to the U.S. for Au Pairs. With a user-friendly interface, Au Pairs can easily compare prices and filter options to find the best flight for their budget and preferences.|
|Skyscanner||Skyscanner is a well-known travel booking website that specializes in offering budget-friendly flights to the U.S. for Au Pairs. With its powerful search engine and flexible filtering options, Skyscanner allows Au Pairs to easily find the best deals and plan their journey accordingly.|
|Kayak||Kayak is another top-rated travel booking website that offers a comprehensive search engine for flights to the U.S. for Au Pairs. In addition to providing competitive pricing, Kayak offers a range of features such as flexible dates, nearby airports, and the option to bundle flights with hotels and car rentals.|
|Google Flights||Google Flights is a popular flight search engine that allows Au Pairs to find flights to the U.S. quickly and efficiently. With its user-friendly interface and advanced search features, Au Pairs can easily compare prices and filter options to find the perfect flight that suits their needs and budget.|
|CheapOair||CheapOair is a leading travel booking website that specializes in offering low-cost flights to the U.S. for Au Pairs. With its easy-to-use interface and extensive search options, Au Pairs can quickly find the best flight deals and plan their travel accordingly. Additionally, CheapOair offers a range of discounts and promotions to help Au Pairs save money on their flights.|
These are just a few examples!
Remember to do lots of research and compare prices to make sure you are finding the best deal.
Here are some other tips to consider when looking at flights:
- Look for flights at off-peak times
- Think about where and how long any layovers are
- Watch for hidden fees so you stay within budget
- Read reviews and check for discounts
Consider Timing And Budget
When you’re ready to start looking for a flight, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, trying to coordinate your arrival month as an au pair to be in an off-peak time or less busy time of the year can save you a lot of money in the long run.
To be sure, when exactly the au pair departs will be dependent on factors beyond the au pair’s control such as when the au pair matches with the host family and how long it takes to get a J-1 visa.
But it’s an excellent thing to remember if you can make it happen.
Second, starting well in advance to save up money for the flight can help tremendously.
A flight to the U.S. can be very expensive, especially if you are booking a trip from far away.
Having several months – or even a year or more – to save will help the au pair not have to go into debt just to get to the U.S.!
Tips For Booking The Flight
After determining a budget, saving up money, finding and matching with a host family, and getting a visa squared away, it’s time for your au pair to book a flight!
Here are some tips to consider:
- Make sure the flight dates align with the start of the program
- Book the flight to the orientation city (depends on which au pair agency you’re using)
- Watch for any extra costs the airline might have
- Pay attention to the baggage limits and fees – it’s easy to overpack
- Confirm flight details once the travel is booked to prevent errors
- Double-check your flight is on time the week and day before travel
Help your au pair remember these tips and it will set him or her up for travel success!
Prepare For The Flight
After the flight is booked, it’s time to get ready.
Make sure to obtain any necessary travel documentation such as a visa and vaccinations if it’s required.
Beyond packing for the au pair year, make sure to keep the absolute essentials in a bag such as a carry on that you’ll remember exactly where to find these essential items.
These are going to be things like your passport with visa, boarding pass, money for travel, IDs you’ll need during your au pair year, and any other critically important documentation.
Make Travel Day Exciting, Fun, and Less Stressful
At long last, you (if you’re the au pair) or your au pair will be ready to travel!
This is an exciting day, but it can be extremely stressful.
It might be the first time traveling internationally, on a long flight that lasts for hours, and the first time saying goodbye to family at home.
For some, it might even be the first time on an airplane!
The good news is there are a few things the au pair can do to make things as easy as possible.
First, avoid any last-minute rush or delays by arriving early at the airport with plenty of time to spare.
Second, bring some sort of entertainment, whether books, magazines, movies, or music to entertain yourself on the flight.
Third, dress in comfortable clothes! Don’t take this to an extreme, but do remember you’re going to be on a flight for a long time.
Of all the things you can control your clothes are perhaps the easiest.
By following these steps, you can drastically reduce your travel day stress.
Before You Go
Booking a flight and arriving is the beginning of a year-long adventure as an au pair, but it’s just the beginning!
Read our next article all about au pair qualities to discover what characteristics will set you and your host family up for an awesome year together.